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James Flammang
Contributing Editor - August 3, 2015

2016 Scion FR-S OVERVIEW

Not one but two similar low-slung, four-passenger performance sports coupes debuted in 2013, ready to rival such favorites as the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. Closely related, both the Scion FR-S and the Subaru BRZ quickly earned acclaim from the media, as well as praise from the sports-car enthusiast crew.

Many considered the emergence of the duo as a signal to the return of traditional sport-car roots. That meant a small-displacement engine, precise handling, brisk performance, and an emphasis on weight-cutting. Plus rear-wheel drive, of course.

Though the two cars are nearly identical, Subaru's BRZ has generally sold better.

What's New for 2016

Apart from two new colors, little has changed on the 2016 FR-S. A new standard audio system works with a seven-inch touch-screen and voice recognition technology, and a rearview backup camera now is standard.

New bright silver accents may be seen on the steering-wheel bezel, gearshift bezel, door grip, and along the sides of the center console. The FR-S earned a five-star overall (four-star for frontal crash) rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Choosing Your Scion FR-S

Except for picking from a group of possible options, there’s nothing to choose from at the Scion dealership, apart from requesting a manual or automatic transmission. Both units are six-speed. The FR-S comes in a single trim level, which can either be customized via that option list to suit the buyer, or left in unadorned base-model form.

Beneath the FR-S hood sits a 2-liter “boxer” (horizontally-opposed) four-cylinder engine provided by Subaru. It produces 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to propel this lightweight coupe with gusto. Fuel economy is estimated at 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway with manual shift, but 25/34 mpg with automatic.


The FR-S comes with fairly good selection of standard features, including aluminum pedals and scuff plates, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, tilt/telescopic steering column, keyless entry, air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, and an eight-speaker 300-watt Pioneer Display Audio system with CD player and USB port.

Also standard are carpeted floor mats, automatic projector-beam headlights, LED taillights, power mirrors, power windows and door locks, cruise control, chrome exhaust tips, a rear-mounted shark-fin antenna, and 17-inch alloy wheels.

Six airbags are standard, along with a rearview camera, front knee cushions, and accent stitching. For the customization crowd, options range from foglights, mudguards, a center armrest and a rear lip spoiler, to Bespoke audio with navigation and 18-inch TRD alloy wheels. Half a dozen TRD performance items also are available.

Base price of the 2016 FR-S with manual gearbox is $26,075 (including $770 destination charge), while the automatic-transmission edition has an MSRP of $27,175.

CarsDirect Tip

With no step-up model to consider, it may be tempting to check off a bunch of option boxes. But beware. Choose too many, and the tolerable base price could whip toward, or past, the $30,000 barrier. The automatic costs $1,100 extra but it slows down acceleration appreciably. Should you take the Scion or the so-similar Subaru BRZ? Subaru offers step-up models, rather than a list of options that could be chosen at an extra cost for each one.

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